Monday, June 28, 2010

Gorge Walking near Aviemore

When I was informed that we were going gorge walking somewhere in the Scottish Highlands I really didn't know what to expect. I knew for sure that on the scenery side of things I wasn't going to be disappointed. Scotland is very well known for it's beautiful mountains, and combining that with rivers and waterfalls one cannot other than expect just the ultimate beauty. Every time I see the luscious green hills with the rivers in between I always think about my mom that loves to watch movies and programs that plays off in these parts of the world, and of course the accents that goes along with it. I was fortunate enough on this trip to experience all of that, so the trip across country for a day's fun in the sun, was the cherry on top of everything that I have already experienced this week.

We left early on Sunday for a 90 minute ride to Aviemore on the northwestern side of Scotland. There we met up with a team, Pete and Mike, from Active Outdoor Pursuits. The plan was to treat Dave's two kids to a day of gorge scrambling which included rock climbing, cliff jumping and some "foefie sliding", or zip sliding as it is referred to over here. I think I was the most excited of us all about this whole trip, but 12-year old Aidan would soon overtake me as his confidence grew, but a bit more on that later. We arrive arrived at Aviemore with just enough time to fill our stomachs with a bacon roll, bread with bacon that seems to be a very popular treat in Scotland. After sorting out our wetsuits we headed for a small river gorge not far away.

When we arrived at the gorge, they beauty of area obviously stunned me again. The sound of the water roaring over the rapids added to the excitement and pretty soon we were all climbing along the rock edges on our first challenge for the day. The route wasn't very technical, but for Aidan and Hayley this was just enough to get the adrenalin going. With only cold water below to catch your fall, it was enough motivation to cling on for dear life. Aidan was a natural and was soon following Pete all over the place to make sure that he was going to be the first one to try out everything that Pete had planned for the day. While we were climbing I made the most of my chances to appreciate the beauty of the gorge. After the climb we finally all ended up in the water, sliding down rapids and eventually doing a few jumps off a cliff. The water was much warmer than I expected, but coming from the icy waters of Bloubergstrand, I guess I was just used to numb feet and ice cream headaches. While the rest of the gang still spend some time in the water, I took the chance and grabbed the camera for some action and scenery shots. After all, what would the day be without some memories and pics for my blog.

Over lunch we had some sandwiches and coffee, while Pete and Mike set up the ropes for the zip slide. Dave and I would soon realize that the slide was a bit on the small side for the two heavyweights, but Aidan and Hayley made the most of it and really enjoyed sliding down into the water. At this point we were all getting rather tired, so after packing up and while heading back to Aviemore, all of us were caught dozing off into a short nap or two. The day belonged to Aidan and Hayley who really had all the fun they could squeeze out of the day. I got my pictures and memories and Dave had the smile of a dad that was very proud of his two children's achievements for the day.

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